This concept of balance and wellbeing has been coming up for me over and over so I’m going to share. In The Whole-Brain Child Dan Siegel defines mental health as our ability to remain in the “river of well-being”. One bank represents chaos, where you feel out of control. Confusion and turmoil rule the day. The other side is the bank of rigidity where you are imposing control on everything and everyone around you. This is no good either.
Sometimes, I find, life feels a bit more like a luge run. I was in a luge camp once when I was young. The first lesson you get in luge is if you hit one wall to steer into it because inevitably you will hit the other wall with double the impact and that will probably lead to a major wipe out. Steering into the wall you just hit requires self-awareness and the faster you are going the harder the crash.
E A Meek wrote a thesis for her PhD in Depth psychology on a similar concept related to creativity: creative flooding. We want to aim to be in a state where creative flow is manageable. When our creativity is blocked life is stagnant and depressing. Not talked about as much, is the state of creative flooding where we are overwhelmed and overloaded.
In DBT they stress the importance of acting from the Wise Mind. Emotions can give us a lot of information to help us connect with our environment and other people but too much emotion is overwhelming and chaotic. The rational mind is also important for making a good decision based on the facts and previous experience but too much and one becomes robotic and distant.
Finally, another more esoteric look at this concept of well-being comes from an Anthroposophical book I picked up last year called The Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker by Manfred Schmidt-Brabant. He writes “In anthroposophy there are two great spiritual powers that try to disturb our balance: Lucifer and Ahriman. The Luciferic forces lead the human being away from earthly life, detach him from obligations. The Ahrimanic powers force the human being into a form, bind him fast. Ahriman is the solidifying, Lucifer the dissolving element…everything can disintegrate into chaos – or end up in sterile order. But balance has to be maintained, a middle ground found”